Bodegas Bhilar

Our goal is to make terroir driven wines with soul, and to share them with good people
Bodegas Bhilar is a boutique winery located in Elvillar, Rioja Alavesa, run by husband and wife team, David Sampedro and Melanie Hickman. Their goal is to make terroir-driven wines with soul, respect the land, work only with indigenous grapes, and to share their unique wines with good people with positive energy.

Biodynamic Philosophy

In the year 1999, David started learning about the biodynamic philosophy and changed how he cared for his vineyards. First, he converted to organic farming and then began following tenants to recover the harmony between man, earth, vines, and cosmos. In 2014, tractors were eliminated and horses were brought back to farm the vineyards.

David Sampedro

The winemaker and viticultor, David Sampedro Gil, grew up in the same vineyards he works today. While earning his masters in enology, David started his career working in some of the larger wineries in Rioja. There, he realized that great wines are made in the vineyard. A realization that changed his path in life, he returned to his vineyards and started new projects reflecting his personal winemaking philosophy; unique wines that reflect a sense of place, sustainable agriculture, and minimal intervention in the winery.

Sustainable Winery

After years of making his personal wines in wineries where he consulted, David decided to focus all of his energy on his “Phincas” wines and personal projects throughout Spain. In 2012, he started his garagiste winery close to his vineyards in Elvillar and named it after his village; Bhilar is Elvillar in the Basque language. The new minimal intervention winery finalized in 2016 is a chateau concept that molds into the landscape. The sustainable design is “off the grid” utilizing solar power and built partially subterranean with concrete fermentation tanks to help control the temperature in the winery.

Old Vines, Limestone Soils, Cool Climate

Vineyards have dominated the landscape of Elvillar for hundreds of years due to its poor soil conditions. Consequently, this region is known for having some of the oldest vines in all of Rioja. Rocky, limestone soils meander through three valleys running from the Sierra Cantabria mountain to the River Ebro giving Elvillar a distinct and diverse viticultural landscape. High-altitude vineyards cling to the hills and valleys ultimately crawling up the side of the mountain toward the Sierra Cantabria.